A yellow Labrador and a Black Labrador lying beside each other on the ground

Common health problems for Labradors and how to prevent them 

It goes without saying that we all want our Labs to live long and healthy lives. But did you know that most of us are missing some simple but important steps to keep our Labradors in tip-top shape? There are a number of common health problems for Labradors that can be easily treated.

According to new research from PetSure, Australia’s leading pet insurance underwriter, only one in 10 of us do regular at-home pet health checks like brushing our Labradors’ teeth or checking for fleas and ticks. Instead, we’re spending our money treating them! I love to treat my Lab Ellie as much as the next person, but these checks can help prevent or detect some common pet health conditions that can affect our Labs, so it’s important they don’t get skipped.

The Pet Health Monitor has some fascinating insights into our pets, and I’m going to cover some of the most common preventable illnesses for Labradors and how you can keep your furry friend healthy and happy.


Labradors are adventurous and curious dogs, which can sometimes get them into trouble. Mishaps can include broken legs, bite injuries, or accidental falls. These can be very costly and painful for your dog, so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. 

Here are some tips to prevent mishaps:

– Ensure your Lab is socialised from an early age to prevent fights and bite injuries. You can enrol your dog in puppy classes or dog parks where they can learn to interact with other dogs in a safe and supervised environment.

– Secure your property to avoid escapes, and secure balconies and windows to avoid any accidental falls. You can use fences, gates, locks, or screens to keep your dog from wandering off or jumping out of high places.

– Keep your dog on a leash when walking outside, especially near busy roads or unfamiliar areas. This will prevent your dog from running into traffic or getting lost.

– Avoid leaving your dog alone for long periods of time or in extreme weather conditions. This can cause stress, boredom, or heatstroke for your dog. Provide your dog with plenty of water, shade, toys, and attention.

Ear Infections

Labradors have the perfect combination of floppy ears that can trap moisture and wax, and a love of water, leading to inflammation and infection within the ear canal. Ear infections are one of the top five health conditions experienced by dogs, and they can cause discomfort, itching, and hearing loss for your dog. Here are some tips to prevent ear infections:

Tips to prevent ear infections: 

– Remember to clean your Labrador’s ears every week with a vet-approved ear cleaner that contains a drying agent. This will help remove any dirt, debris, or excess wax from your dog’s ears and prevent bacterial growth.

– Keep an eye out for signs of an ear infection – if you see your dog shaking their head, scratching their ears, or if you notice any discharge or odor in their ears, seek advice from your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

– Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears during swimming or bathing. But if they do (inevitably) get wet, dry your dog’s ears thoroughly after any exposure to water.

Oral Hygiene

Labradors love to eat, but they also need to take care of their teeth and gums. Dental disease is a common problem for dogs that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum inflammation, and even systemic infections. Dental disease can also be very expensive to treat. Here are some tips to prevent dental disease:

Tips to prevent dental decay and disease: 

– Regularly brush your Labrador’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a dog-friendly toothpaste. This will help remove any plaque or tartar from your dog’s teeth and prevent cavities and gum disease. If they don’t like their teeth being brushed, you can start by desensitising them to being touched around the mouth with treats first. As they get used to this, you can eventually build up to brushing.

– Consider feeding your Labrador dental chews as these can help prevent build up of plaque and tartar, and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. You can also give your dog raw bones or carrots as natural chew toys that can clean their teeth.

– Visit your veterinarian for regular dental check-ups and professional cleaning. Your vet can examine your dog’s mouth for any signs of dental problems and perform scaling and polishing if needed.


We all know that Labs are prone to obesity because they have a big appetite and a tendency to overeat. Being overweight can predispose Labradors to a number of diseases, such as arthritis, cruciate ligament injury, diabetes, and heart problems. In 2022, the average claim cost for cruciate ligament injury was $2,408 for dogs. Here are some tips to prevent obesity:

Tips to prevent obesity: 

– Keep up daily exercise with your Labrador, including walks and at-home play. Labradors are active dogs that need at least an hour of physical activity every day to burn off calories and stay fit.

– Feed your Labrador a balanced breed-specific diet that meets their nutritional needs. Follow the feeding guidelines on the packaging or consult your veterinarian for the appropriate amount of food for your dog.

– Supplement their diets with joint and hip support. We use Antinol Rapid for Ellie along with ZamiPet Joint Protect to keep her feeling more nimble and enjoying exercise.

The bottom line 

Of course, doing at-home pet health checks doesn’t mean you should skip visiting your vet. In fact, most insurers and vets agree that Labs should visit the vet at least once a year for a comprehensive check-up and vaccination. This way, you can ensure that your Labradors are getting the best possible care and treatment.

And, I’m not saying that you should stop spoiling your Labradors with treats and toys. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing their Labradors’ happy faces when they get a new chew toy or a yummy snack? 

But maybe we should also think about how we can spoil them with some quality time and attention that can benefit their health and well-being.

After all, our Labradors are more than just pets. They are our loyal companions, our best friends and our family members. They deserve nothing but the best from us. There is so much more fascinating information on the Pet Health Monitor, so follow the link and read more. 

And finally, what do you think? 

Do you do regular at-home pet health checks on your Labradors? How do you spoil your Labradors? 

Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below. 

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